Two iron pikes
Pike
  • Object number – 00271-JR, 00272-JR
  • Material – Iron
  • Place of Origin – England
  • Date – Early 17th century
  • Context – Pit 1
  • Location – Collections
  • Category – Arms & Armor

The pike is a polearm with a small bladed head. The 16- to 18-foot pike was the most effective defense against cavalry charges on the European battlefield. The pikemen who wielded the weapon had a special role in protecting the musketeers while they were reloading their weapons. The pike was not especially useful to the Jamestown colonists since their principal military engagements were with the Indians rather than mounted soldiers.

All the pike heads found in James Fort have four-sided diamond-shaped blades and are known as boarding pikes. Two long iron straps would have secured them to the wooden shaft. The boarding pike is a short 8-foot-long weapon commonly used aboard warships from the 16th to the 19th century.